Lentils or Daal, as they’re normally called in Pakistani and Indian households, are the staple food in Asian and North African cuisine. They’re tiny seeds from the legume family and are packed in nutrition and energy! They’re so popular in Asian cuisines that a meal feels incomplete without their presence. That makes one wonder, what are the benefits of eating lentils? Well, wonder no more as we break down all the hard facts to you, and find out the health benefits of lentils, lentils’ nutritional facts, and whether lentils are good for you.
What are the Benefits of Eating Lentils
Lentils are a great source of protein, fiber, and are low in calories. They are a great option for vegetarians who are having a hard time getting enough protein in their diet. Lentils are also good for people who are trying to lose weight because they are filling.
Yes, because they are high in protein and fiber (two nutrients that can help you lose weight), plus they’re full of other minerals like potassium. They’re also low in fat, highly nutritious, and generally inexpensive to purchase (always a plus when you’re on a budget). And while there’s much more to say about them, let me just tell you that they include the following health advantages or we can say benefits of eating lentils
- Polyphenols are antioxidants that fight a variety of diseases in the body, including heart disease and cancer. Lentils are a significant deal, to say the least. They’re great for getting your polyphenol fix (they have more than green peas and chickpeas), and research suggests they may help with long-term health issues including heart disease and type 2 diabetes management.”Polyphenols present in lentils have been shown to possess antioxidant, antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, cardioprotective, anti-inflammatory, nephroprotective, antidiabetic, anticancer, antiobesity, hypolipidemic, and chemopreventive activities,” says dietitian Whitney English. “People who consume a lot of lentils have lower cholesterol levels and a decreased risk of breast cancer according to on studies.”
- They’re high in protein. It’s wonderful news for vegetarians: One cup of lentils contains at least 18 grams of protein. To acquire that much protein, you’d have to consume a whole can of chickpeas. (A word of caution: go for 50 to 75 grams each day.)
- Lentils are a good source of iron. One cup of lentils provides 6.5 milligrams of iron, which is around one-third of your daily requirement. Iron is crucial for maintaining blood flow throughout your body. If you don’t get enough, blood flow will be hindered.
- They’re high in fiber. Almost every nutritionist extols the virtues of fiber—particularly with regard to digestive health and weight loss maintenance. Lentils have at least 10 grams of fiber in one cup, which is almost twice as much as a cup of raw kale. “One serving provides 20% of your daily fiber requirement,
- Lentils are excellent for your bones. Dairy-rich meals tend to steal the spotlight when it comes to bone health, but lentils are also a fantastic choice with 35 mg of calcium per cup. That’s useful information for vegans!
- They’re high in folic acid. Folic acid is a vital nutrient to consume on a daily basis, but it’s especially essential when you’re pregnant. Not getting enough of it might result in significant birth defects. Even if you aren’t pregnant, folic acid consumption supports healthy hair growth and lowers the risk of heart disease and stroke. lentils have been discovered to be an excellent, well-absorbed dietary source of folic acid, especially for expectant or new moms.
- They’re high in magnesium. If you’re having trouble sleeping, are anxious, or overworked, your body might benefit from magnesium intake on a daily basis—and cooked lentils may be an excellent source with 71 mg per cup.
All the Above benefits of eating lentils are great as you’ll receive a significant nutritional boost. That is something all eaters can agree on.
Possible Side-Effects of Eating Lentils
Beans have a distinct disadvantage. All that healthy fiber can cause discomfort, to say the least. The solution to gas is to gradually increase your lentil consumption, especially if you haven’t had a lot of fiber in the past.
The proteins in legumes that cause inflammation, upset stomach, and other symptoms are called lectins. It’s one of the reasons why people on the Paleo diet avoid beans and lentils. If you continuously feel sick after consuming lentils or other lectin-rich meals, you should avoid them or eat only small amounts of them.
How to Include Lentils into your Diet
So, now that you’re aware of the health benefits of lentils, how can you get your fill without them tasting like their grandma’s mush? Let me go through a few options for you. These health benefits of lentils are significant.
- Find lentil-based pasta in the ingredients list. Modern Table, Explore Cuisine, and Tolerant are just a few examples of companies that utilize lentils as a gluten-free pasta alternative. It’s prepared in the same way you would cook regular noodles, then it’s added to whatever you’d like to eat with your favorite sauce.
- Add lentils to your salad. The tiny enclosed seeds are an excellent method to add more protein to your greens dish without using grilled chicken. Add the lentils to boiling water and simmer for approximately 20 to 25 minutes, or until they are soft. Then add them to your salad when they’ve cooled off a bit!
- Make a lentil soup or stew. Imagine what would happen if you added some bulk to your lunch? It’s like soup, but with more filling protein and fiber to keep you satisfied for hours after. Simmer plain unsoaked lentils in a combination of vegetables, herbs, and stock until cooked.
- Use them as a meat substitute. “You may cook dry lentils on the stovetop—which is because you don’t have to pre-soak them—or buy canned cooked lentils instead. Another option is to use canned red, green, or brown lentils.”
Types of Lentils
All the varieties of lentils fall into the same food group, but all are not created alike!
These hold their shape well and are easy to cook. They’re just as popular in North America as they are in South Asia. These tiny seeds are mild in flavor and have an earthy taste. There are a variety of ways to cook them. For instance, with rice, as a mash for burgers, a salad topper, or even sometimes blended to make a nice, old-fashioned soup.
Red and Yellow
These are mild-flavored seeds, which are consumed pretty much daily in Pakistani and Middle Eastern households. These and incredibly delicate and become mushy when cooked down, thus excellent for thickening soups, making purees, and cooking tasty curries. In addition to that, the vibrant colors of these make any dish stand out; the dishes cooked with them always become the showstopper, and their sweet-nutty flavor elevates the dish to another level!
Paired well with any protein or meaty vegetables, these are the best pulse to prepare a hearty meal. The flavor of these caviar-like seeds is earthy and whole, similar to black beans. Therefore, the people who are keen on making filling dishes, which look aesthetically pleasing, should definitely consider utilizing these.
Breakdown of Lentils’ Nutritional Facts
All of these are for half a cup of cooked lentils, and the values are in grams.
This data is available on USDA. View the site here for more information on lentils’ nutritional facts, as well as other food products.
Consult the table below to find out the health benefits of lentils:
|Red and Yellow||22||10||40||6|
Calories in Dry Lentils
In 1 cup, around 197g, there are approximately 676 calories. To those who’re now turning away in horror, don’t fret! All of these aren’t bad; there’s only 2g of fat and zero cholesterol. Besides this, these are good for you, even in dry form, they contain an abundance of vitamin A, C, and iron. This certainly proves the benefits of eating lentils.
There are unlimited methods of cooking these tiny legumes as each culture and country has its own way of cooking them and making delicious dishes with them.
Here we have listed a few, easy recipes for you to try out:
A simple yet hearty dish made without any meat. It’s filling, healthy, and can be made in a jiffy!
BBQ Lentil Meatballs
A vegan dish, which is packed with protein! This dish is made from easy to come by ingredients and will please the pickiest eater.
Moroccan Spiced Lentil and Chickpea Soup
A soup that is both gorgeous to look at, and tastes just as amazing as it looks. Make this soup for your next lunch or dinner, as a sure way to impress your guests!
Cauliflower and Lentil Soup
One of the prettiest-looking stews ever! Make this hearty recipe this winter and enjoy it over a cozy meal with your family.
I think it’s safe to assume that lentils would be a great addition to anyone’s diet, if not necessary! These tiny seeds look small but they are packed with energy and health benefits. Above all, lentils are cheap, easily available, and are easy to cook. Now, what are you waiting for? Stop reading this and go and try one of the recipes we’ve listed above.